Bread Crumbs

Pre-Activation Benefit for National Guard and Reserve

National Guard/Reserve members who are issued delayed-effective-date active duty orders for more than 30 days in support of a contingency operation may qualify early eligibility for TRICARE beginning on the date their orders were issued or 180 days before they report to active duty, whichever is later.

During this "pre-activation" period, National Guard/Reserve members and their families qualify for the same level of coverage as they do when the sponsor is activated. 

Health Care Options

National Guard/Reserve Members

You will enroll in one of the TRICARE Prime options at your final duty station:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Remote
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas

If you need any specialty, urgent or inpatient care before you’re enrolled, try to get care at a military hospital or clinic first. If care is not available at a military hospital or clinic and you’re referred to a TRICARE network provider, you must have authorization from your regional contractor first.

Not sure which region you’re in? Visit the TRICARE Regions page to find out.

Family Members

When your sponsor is activated, you may enroll with your sponsor in one of the TRICARE Prime options or use TRICARE Standard and Extra or TRICARE Standard Overseas (depending on where you live). It is not recommend that you enroll in a Prime option during the pre-activation period, especially if you already have another primary insurance plan. Instead, wait until the sponsor is on active duty before enrolling in a Prime option to ensure there is no break in coverage. During the pre-activation it is recommeded that you get care in one of the following ways:

  • If you have other health insurance (i.e., employer-sponsored), continue to use that plan and use TRICARE as secondary coverage until your sponsor reports to his/her final duty station. 
  • Use the TRICARE Standard and Extra option by visiting any TRICARE-authorized provider. Family members will pay cost shares, but annual deductibles (up to $300) are waived, and TRICARE will cover the extra 15% charged by nonparticipating providers.
  • Make appointments at military hospitals and clinics on a space-available basis. If you decide to enroll in TRICARE Prime at a military hospital or clinic, you will have priority access for appointments.

In all cases, keep copies of your health care receipts and explanations of benefits for care received during the pre-activation period.  

Dental Options

National Guard/Reserve members become eligible for active duty dental benefits and will get care at military dental treatment facilities and through the Active Duty Dental Program. If enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program, you will be automatically disenrolled. Family members are eligible to purchase the TRICARE Dental Program, if not already enrolled. >>Learn More

Last Updated 9/4/2013